The Best MF DOOM Albums

Written on July 15, 2021

Daniel Dumile aka MF DOOM aka Viktor Vaughn aka King Geedorah, is one of my personal favorite rappers of all time and probably one of the most creative rappers I’ve ever heard. Saying that, I had to make a list of what I thought were the best MF DOOM albums.

Daniel finds ways to keep the listener engaged with his rare combination of immensely dense rhyming patterns, hilarious concepts, witty sense of humor, and villainy ideas. Whether he’s crafting the beats himself or getting help from others, his production is almost always extremely fitting to the aura he wants to give off in that project. He also has some of the best and well-placed skits of any rapper with most of them being cartoon samples and villainous quotes from Doctor Doom or his enemies.

Similar to the supervillain Doctor Doom who Daniel took inspiration from, they both had something tragic happen to them and kind of re-emerge as a masked figure with a chip on their shoulder. What sets DOOM even further apart is the way he creates alter egos and raps in their shoes to give multiple different voices in his catalog, all while keeping the same dense rhyme patterns. It’s amazing.

This list isn’t limited to just albums released under the primary MF DOOM moniker. It includes all of Daniel’s alter egos, MF DOOM, Viktor Vaughn and King Geedorah. What aren’t included on this list are albums where there was a joint effort in the rapping department (sorry Czarface Meets Metal Face) nor am I including albums where DOOM was mostly responsible for only the production (sorry NehruvianDoom).

Let’s do this.

9. Keys to the Kuffs

Keys to the Kuffs album cover

Keys to the Kuffs is the most recent release of MF DOOM with Jneiro Jarel handling the production. Although the production is somewhat fitting to DOOM with the weird sounds and huge variety of instruments, it sounds like DOOM is trying to force his raps to fit the beat. There’s only a handful of occurrences where the two sounds like they’re in sync.

One of the few standout tracks to me was “Wash Your Hands” where the rapper is making a bunch of hilarious statements about going to the club and the filth that resides there.

You like the way she shake her back area / It’s like a sex machine that make bacteria / Now that’s a real funny business / Mad raw filthy fingers stickin’ dirty money in it /

– Wash Your Hands

Some other areas that shine on this project are “Winter Blues” and “Guv’nor”. “Winter Blues” especially is super smooth and it’s one of the few times where DOOM sounds comfortable rapping on the beat.

To be 100% fair, I haven’t listened to this album nearly as many times as I have the other albums in DOOM’s catalog. Normally his projects will grow on me over time but this one just barely sounds like the DOOM we all knew to love. It’s not a terrible project and if you’re a fan of the rapper, you’ll probably enjoy it but it doesn’t stack up to his others.

8. Venomous Villian

In an attempt to follow up his critically acclaimed album Vaudeville Villian, MF DOOM released Venomous Villian under the Viktor Vaughn moniker. Despite it’s super short length of just over 35 minutes, this is a solid project even though it sounds nothing like its predecessor.

My biggest gripe with this album is there’s not nearly enough of DOOM rapping on it. Just about every song has a featured artist to go along with the numerous producers, which gives the album an experimental sound. Being the second installment of the Viktor Vaughn moniker, one would expect a similar sound and feel as the first release.

With that being said, there were a few highlights on this project including “Back End”, “Fall Back/Titty Fat” and “Bloody Chain”. DOOM and Poison Pen trade verses on “Bloody Chain” which tells a genius story of how DOOM lent his girl a chain that he recently robbed from Poison Pen, who ends up stabbing her to get it back.

I’m like “My shorty got stabbed / Off the piece of shit chain I had nabbed off a crab / Wouldn’t give it up so I put one in his ab / Grabbed the bloody chain and took a cab to the lab / I knew I should’ve sold it to the Arab / My shorty got stabbed off the same bloody chain /

– Bloody Chain

Overall, this is a good project but if you were hoping for a Vaudeville Villian follow-up, this isn’t it.

7. Take Me to Your Leader

This is the first official release of MF DOOM under the King Geedorah alter ego even though he has performed a few songs under this alter ego on Operation: Doomsday. Take Me to Your Leader is definitely a unique listen because it makes you feel as if you’re watching a movie. You feel as if you’re experiencing the album as opposed to listening to it as you would a normal rap album.

What stands out about this project is the production, which was handled by MF DOOM himself. Every cut on here expands on the theme of this gigantic monster and it’s truly a pleasure to listen to. One standout track for me was “The Fine Print” where the beat was this super dope, albeit basic boom-bap sound with DOOM doing what he does best, just rapping.

Hear ye, hear ye! How dare ye / Go up against the king who do his thing tri-yearly? / They too carefree with their mouths around here / Off with his head, and display it at Town Square / On top a seven-feet spike, make sure it’s on tight / In light of when the peasants throw stones with all their might / Skull get smashed for weeks / ‘Til vulture beaks eats the last meat off the cheeks /

– The Fine Print

The video is crazy too.

The thing holding this back from being one of his best for me is the fact that again, there’s simply not enough rapping from DOOM. There’s even a few tracks on here rapped entirely by guests (“’I Wonder’ was 🔥 though”). Especially with this project being only 42 minutes long with at least 5 of those minutes being dedicated to skits, it sounds like some kind of group collab album instead of a solo release.

6. Operation: Doomsday

Operation: Doomsday is Daniel Dumile’s return to the hip hop scene after the disbandment of his former rap group KMD. His brother DJ Subroc’s tragic passing and KMD getting released from their label just before an album release appeared to put Daniel in a dark place. This album is the resurgence of Daniel Dumile and the beginning of the masked villain that we have today.

DOOM handled the production by himself and lyrically it’s good but it’s not to the level that he would be at in only a few years to come. In typical DOOM fashion, he has tons of internal rhymes going on with references to being a villain.

The supervillain cooler than a million, I be chillins / Still quick to slice squares like Sicilians / Dont make me have to hurt them feelings / I’ll ruin you in the dirt that I be doin in my dealings / Sendin spirits through the ceilin’, chrome peelin’ / Dome blown within the comforts of your own home /

– Gas Drawls

And here on “Red and Gold”:

I remember when, last past November when / Clown kid got pounded in with the Timberlands / They left him trembling, he was not remembering / Never tuck your denim in just to floss an emblem /

– Red and Gold

This album sounded almost nothing like any other rap albums around it’s time of release. I do find some enjoyment with this project but the fact that it sounds dated and has some pretty whack hooks, it doesn’t really bring me back to it. Still an extremely important album for starting the career of DOOM, just not particularly my taste in sound.

5. The Mouse and the Mask

Teaming up with Danger Mouse to create the duo known as Danger Doom, this album was released towards the end of 2005. It’s worth noting that this came after the ridiculously artistically enlightened run of Vaudeville Villian, MM..Food and Madvilliany. The Mouse and the Mask is an interesting album because of the nature of the content. It’s filled with Adult Swim samples and Aqua Team Hunger Force (ATHF) skits but still has mostly fantastic rhyming in it.

I can’t help but feel that this is a slept on album. The Mouse and the Mask is trademark DOOM over unorthodox beats. There’s not a single bad track on this entire project and “The Mask” featuring Ghostface Killah and “Mince Meat” stand out particularly.

One of my favorite lines from the album is on “Crosshairs” where he seems to be describing himself as someone who loves making beats and also weed (I’m making the assumption here that “green stuff” is weed).

Villain, nag a grieving old hag / Snag a bragger by his mic cord and leave him holding the bag / Come clean, a bunch of dumb mean cream puffs / A keen drum machine buff, who fiends for more green stuff /

– Crosshairs

Although I think that Danger Doom delivered an album with incredible beats and top-notch rhyming, the ATHF skits got a bit annoying. You get the impression that after every song, there’s an interlude with a character from the show. With that being said, this album is fantastic and is another notch of proof that MF DOOM is a tremendous rhymer. The album cover is dope too.

4. Born Like This

In comparison to DOOM’s other albums released, alter egos aside, this one also feels very underrated. The rapping on this album is extremely sharp and witty, specifically on the tracks “Cellz”, “More Rhymin” and “That’s That”. The production wasn’t fantastic but it was very fitting for the mood this project gives off. This is also undoubtedly his darkest album that he’s put out.

DOOM from the realm of El Kulum, smelly gel fume / Separating cell womb to Melle Mel, boom / Revelations in Braille, respiration inhale, view / Nations fail and shaking of a snake tail make due /

– Cellz

Born Like This is a great album and is arguably his best if we’re talking about showcasing pure lyrical ability. DOOM’s trademark style is apparent throughout the entire listen and I come back to this project all the time.

3. Madvilliany

In March of 2004, just a few months after MF DOOM released the amazing Vaudeville Villian, Madlib and MF DOOM, formally known as Madvillian, released Madvilliany. This album is considered by many hip hop fans one of the greatest albums ever made, especially in the underground scene.

The chemistry between DOOM and Madlib is apparent for the entire listen as Madlib produced every track on Madvilliany except for the intro titled “The Illest Villain”. Not only is the rhyming on this project outstanding, the production is flawless for a rapper like DOOM to flow on. The beats are somewhat unconventional, packed with fantastic instrumental transitions and the album has just the right amount of short interludes.

Do not stand still, boast yo’ skills / Close but no krills, toast for po’ nils, post no bills / Coast to coast Joe Shmoe’s flows ill, go chill / Not supposed to overdose No-Doz pills / Off pride tykes talk wide through scar meat / Off sides like how Worf rides with Starfleet /

– Figaro

The sheer amount of pleasant sounds you hear allows you to get lost in the experience of this album. It’s honestly one of a kind.

With all of that praise, the reason Madvilliany is third on my list is simply that I don’t go back to it as much as I thought I would. Interestingly, I would probably still give this album a higher rating than the first and second albums on this list but I prefer the cleverer, deeper version of DOOM. 100% a bonafide classic and an absolute must-listen if you haven’t already.

Just remember ALL CAPS when you spell the man name.

2. Vaudeville Villian

Although it’s not number one on this list, Vaudeville Villian is the DOOM album that gives me the most enjoyment and it’s the album I find myself playing the most. Rapping under the alter ego Viktor Vaughn, the vibe of this project is laced with weird, eerie scientific beats and it sounds like you’re in a science lab for half of the project.

MF DOOM touches on a wide variety of topics on this album and I think it’s the project that shows the most versatility in his content. For example, he has this track titled “Let Me Watch” where he’s trying to court this girl and he slips up and calls her a h** by accident. The featured rapper Apani B then goes on to say “I’d rather masturbate than f*** with Vik Vaughn” in which DOOM says “Let me watch”. Just a funny story all around.

Also on “Modern Day Mugging”, DOOM is breaking down how to carry out an armed robbery while dropping lines like:

Why you starin’? run your chain like an errand / And your girls earrings, and what you wearin’ /

– Modern Day Mugging

Interestingly this album has a slew of producers credited for different tracks yet the album still feels cohesive. Another great aspect about Vaudeville Villian is you actually get a lot of DOOM rapping on it, which isn’t the case for all of his projects.

What I love most about Vaudeville Villian is that DOOM sounds hungry. He’s aggressive and using his wordplay and stories to portray his skill and it’s the first install me

1. Mm..Food

MM..Food and Vaudeville Villian are toss-ups for the number one spot on this list, they’re just so good it’s hard to pick. I love this project and it helps that MF DOOM produced just about the entire thing by himself. Being a talented producer along with being a complex rhymer, this album gives off the feeling of DOOM being 100% comfortable over the beats.

The sheer number of food references DOOM makes on MM..Food is impressive in and of itself. The concept of the album is DOOM making food references to explain how he eats other rappers like they’re food, how you have to be careful of the people you call friends to rappers snitching on themselves in their own songs. It’s honestly genius the way he pulls this off.

Remarkable rhymes are littered throughout this entire album. Here on “Kon Karne” he raps:

Darker than the East river, larger than the Empire State / Where the beast who guard the barbed wire gate / Is on the job—not my fate, tired of the wait / ‘Til the Villain bring deliverance from the dire straits / Fire at a higher rate why’d they make the liars? / Fliers scatter, buy a plate—isolate the wires / Try the straight pliers, if not—the vice grips / A real price-saver way to acquire nice whips /

– Kon Karne

All in all, I feel that Mm..Food is the most complete hip hop album in DOOM’s already impressive catalog. As previously mentioned, between 2003 and 2005, I feel that DOOM was in his absolute prime and could not miss. The beats are fire, the lyrics are as sharp and complex as ever and the best part about it, there is only a minimal amount of features.

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There you have it. I don’t think DOOM has any bad album releases which is impressive considering the tear he was on between 2003 and 2005. It was difficult to rank the last four albums but I enjoy them all somewhat equally but at the end of the day, MM..Food is my personal favorite and it’s what I think is the best album in DOOM’s catalog.

About the author

I'm not music expert but I know what good hip hop sounds like. I'm just a dude who loves music and feels that non-mainstream hip hop is under-represented and under-appreciated. All thoughts and opinions are my own but I'd love to discuss.

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